We don’t usually do “Link” posts here but FiveThirtyEight’s look on the deaths of too many wrestlers that took part in WrestleMania VI on April 1, 1990 sheds an ugly light on what it might actually mean to be a professional wrestler in an outfit such as the WWE, and strikes a frightening resemblance to the life of some ex-NFL players.
Benjamin Morris points out that one third of the wrestlers that appeared in that event have died in the 25 years that have gone by, including The Ultimate Warrior (James Hellwig), dying at 54, Mr. Perfect (Curt Henning), dead since 2003 at 44, Andre the Giant who passed away three years after the event at the age of 46 and “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
Not all wrestling deaths have something to do with what’s not written down in this piece but there is some hinting between the lines if you know your history of the sport and its participants. Sometimes it’s an accident with equipment like what happened to Owen Hart in 1999. Other times, it’s a heart attack at the age of 58 which causes a car accident, like it happened for Randy Savage.
Chris Benoit is a more ugly case of a man who mudered his wife and son, with researchers suggesting brain damage, anabolic steroid abuse, and depression are all possible contributing factors leading to Benoit’s crime.
Something happens to these men in these sports. We might call some of them gladiators, and we might know that WWE is fake, but a lot of the hits theyse gys take over the years have a serious toll. It’s theatre, but a painful one, which leads to some serious aftershocks.
Just like after an Earthquake, another wrestler Morris mentions in his article, fighting with Hercules. Both wrestlers are now dead. John Tenta (Earthquake) passed away at 42. Hercules (Raymond Fernandez) died at the age of 46.